Saturday, September 24, 2016

Operation Overlong Continues to Prepare the Perfect Killing Blow

It was 30 months between Pearl Harbor and the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, during World War II, in the heart of Nazi Germany's Fortress Europe. It has been 27 months since ISIL captured Mosul from Iraq.

Granted, we've been supporting offensives elsewhere in Iraq during the last year despite leaving the ultimate objective in Iraq in enemy hands.

But we had also been on the offensive elsewhere in Europe before going after the ultimate goal of landing in France to defeat the Nazi army.

I'm not sure what to make of this:

When Kurdish Peshmerga, Iraqi army, and U.S.-led coalition forces move to liberate nearby Mosul, possibly within two weeks, Islamic State fighters will not abandon their prized city and quietly slink away as many in Washington have predicted, according to the Peshmerga’s top military officer.

“They will fight to the death,” said Gen. Jamal Mohammad Omer, Kurdish military chief of staff, in an exclusive interview with Defense One in his office Thursday.

One, will ISIL really fight to the death for Mosul? Since the end of last year, I've been wondering why the jihadis weren't fighting to the death to defend their caliphate.

Sure, the jihadis could rediscover the "we love death" attitude that has compensated for their lack of numbers, training, and equipment. When Iranian morale collapsed in 1988 during their war with Iraq, enough Iranians discovered the will to fight when Iraq made thrusts into Iran to convince Iraq to end that war while they held the edge rather than push for a bigger victory.

So ISIL could rediscover the will to fight.

But what are the reasons for this? Because Mosul is their prize city? If it is so prized, why isn't Mosul the de facto capital of their caliphate rather than Raqqa, Syria?

And there have been reports that ISIL has executed their fighters for running from other cities that were supposed to be held to the death. What makes ISIL's purported decision to fight to the death for Mosul more real than past orders to do so?

Now, let me be so bold as to suggest that the Iraqi Kurds have a motivation to say the fight will be hard. The harder taking Mosul appears to be, the more assistance the Kurds can get from America and other coalition partners.

With the caveat that morale can change during a campaign, I still expect the offensive to go more rapidly and easily than the Kurds say it will be.

Although it is also possible that ISIL just wants to increase our body count to make us pay a price for defeating them.

That said, the second point I want to make is that many in our capital think the offensive will be fairly easy? Is that the position of our military people in charge of facilitating the Iraqi offensive?

If that is so, why has Mosul been occupied by ISIL for 27 months now? Why haven't we helped organize a much more rapid counter-offensive to take Mosul from badly outnumbered defenders by now?

At the rate we are going, ISIL will be able to boast that their caliphate held out longer against the might of America than Nazi Germany managed!